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The Future of Instructional Design

Reflection on Chapter 16: What's the Future of Instructional Design?

Well, here we are, the last chapter of the book, or at least the last chapter that has a reflection question. Here, Dr. Hobson speculates on the future of instructional design and what learning and development may look like a decade from now. It's been several months since I started this series and it's simultaneously exhilarating and frightening how much my answer to this question would have changed if I had finished this blog series back in February or March as opposed to today.

My favorite quote from this chapter is essentially future-proof because technology will continue to evolve and advance in ways that allow us to constantly be increasing levels of engagement. Dr. Hobson states:

There are so many possibilities of what you can do with existing material to transform them in a way that future students can enjoy. The key is not to just repurpose this material into a different format, but to go the extra mile to make the content enjoyable and deepen the learning experience.

As technology advances, there will often be ways to just convert or carry over old content, similar to how old paper worksheets for classrooms were converted into PDFs for digital spaces. But there are better ways.

The SAMR Model shows a progression from using technology as a direct substitute (S) for traditional approaches, to augmenting, modifying, and redefining that content (PowerSchool, n.d.). While we can simply move content over from paper to digital, our learners will get more if we move to the latter stages of that model to redefine the learning experience into something that would not have been possible without technology.

With that in mind, here is the reflection question for the sixteenth chapter:

If you had to envision online learning ten years from now, what does it look like?

Given how much technology has changed in just the last couple of years (or even months), it's hard for me to imagine online learning ten years from now, for better or for worse, not including augmented/virtual reality as well as artificial intelligence.

As technology advances and augmented and virtual reality systems become more affordable, the ability to design and take part in immersive learning experiences will become more commonplace. The ability to create cheaper and safer ways to train people in what would normally be high-risk settings (combat, natural disaster response, labs with hazardous chemical and biological substances) will undoubtedly save money and, more importantly, lives.

This kind of technology could even be used to introduce concepts and skills to kids at a younger age. While I would not even consider letting my eight-year-old use a table saw, I do think he would enjoy carpentry. Augmented reality simulations could teach him, and others like him, about subjects they may be interested in but are excluded from due to safety and financial constraints.

Additionally, artificial intelligence will undoubtedly improve and be able to create, compose, and analyze a variety of inputs and outputs. While I have my doubts about artificial intelligence being a substitute for human beings in most settings, it will undoubtedly supplement people to increase their efficiency and output.

While augmented/virtual reality and artificial intelligence have their benefits, I do have concerns about what their impact could be in the hands of people who are either acting out of ignorance or in bad faith, particularly in the primary and secondary levels of education (in online or traditional schools).

Ultimately, the future is what we make it and it's up to us to harness and use these tools in a safe and effective manner.


Hobson, L. (2021). What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming an Instructional Designer. Independently published.

PowerSchool. (n.d.). SAMR model: A practical guide for k-12 classroom technology integration. Retrieved May 3, 2023, from

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